(WMC-TV) - A Mid-South police chief shot and critically injured during a store robbery is speaking out about that night for the first time.
Police Chief Bill Garrett is on the long road to recovery after his near-death experience at the Dollar General store in Friendship, TN.
"I'm doing better than a lot of people would be. I was lucky," said Chief Garrett.
Action News 5 spoke to Chief Garrett by phone Wednesday about the frightening experience from his hospital bed at The MED.
He was off-duty, inside the Dollar General near Highway 412 with his wife, when investigators say Craig Barbee entered the store wearing a mask, carrying a gun, and demanding money.
"The biggest challenge is getting stuck in that store with your wife. Seeing someone point a gun at your wife," said Garrett.
Barbee is now charged with attempted first degree murder.
Investigators say he and Chief Garrett got into a brief scuffle moments before Garrett was shot.
"I was shot one time in the abdomen. I've got an entrance wound and an exit wound. I've got a pretty large incision from the surgery. It's rather tender and makes it hard to get around," he explained.
Garrett became a Friendship police officer in 1994 and the police chief one year later.
He says he is looking forward to getting out of the hospital within the next two weeks and returning to work.
"Yeah, I'm ready. As soon as I think I can get back in the fight I'll be ready to go. You never know when the fights going to happen," said Garrett.
A bank fund has been set up to help the family with expenses during the chief's recovery.
Donations can be made at the Friendship Tennessee Bank at 574 Main Street.